14 types of counsellors (With primary duties and salaries)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 15 June 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

In a world where people continue to face mental health and well-being problems, counselling has become a broad field with specialist areas that guide people through managing their mental health. Counsellors are trained to help patients express emotions and solve problems by offering support and rehabilitation services. If you're looking to pursue a career in counselling, learning about different types of counsellors and their responsibilities can help you choose the specialism which best suits you. In this article, we talk about 14 different types of counsellors, describe their primary duties and share the average salary for each.

Are there different types of counsellors?

Types of counsellors include guidance counsellors, marriage counsellors and academic counsellors. A counsellor is trained and qualified to support and advise clients about aspects of their lives they want to improve. Depending on their specialism, counsellors collaborate with individuals, groups or families to navigate a wide range of situations.

Most counsellors apply similar techniques to examine their clients' needs, set goals and make plans to accomplish them. They keep track of clients' progress to determine next steps. Mental health-related counsellors also take their clients through therapeutic sessions or refer them to other experts as appropriate.

Related: How to become a child counsellor: a step-by-step guide

14 types of counsellors

Counsellors specialise in certain disciplines, each has specific responsibilities. These 14 descriptions of counsellor roles describe some of the differences between them:

1. Marriage counsellor

National average salary: £46,231 per year

Primary duties: Marriage counsellors advise and support couples. Their duties include talking to partners about challenges they're facing and applying their professional knowledge to help resolve issues. They may offer counselling to the whole family to uncover the root cause of their problems. They can also conduct educational programmes with clients, including marital enrichment courses, to develop their communication skills or increase their mutual trust.

Related: What are genetic counselling and genetic counsellors?

2. Guidance counsellor

National average salary: £27,891 per year

Primary duties: Guidance counsellors usually work in schools to offer children help during term time. Meeting with students, parents and school staff to assess pupils' progress, assisting them in selecting classes and providing emotional support at difficult times are all examples of a guidance counsellor's responsibilities. They may help students to plan their higher education, make sure they comply with school regulations and address challenging behaviours.


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3. Rehabilitation counsellor

National average salary: £33,037 per year

Primary duties: Rehabilitation counsellors work with people whose disabilities restrict them from performing certain activities. These counsellors may specialise in certain types of disability such as vision loss, mental health problems or loss of limbs. They help clients secure employment, perform tasks, complete job training programmes and undertake daily activities to improve their lifestyle.

4. Mental health counsellor

National average salary: £32,442 per year

Primary duties: These counsellors support clients who have mental health conditions. They use therapeutic practices to help clients plan daily activities to improve their emotional state and lifestyle. Identifying behaviours that need improvement, examining and diagnosing mental health conditions and developing plans for clients are included in their duties. They may also research patient environments to identify aspects which may require addressing to improve their mental health. Mental health counsellors may also refer clients to other specialists where appropriate.

Related: The detailed guide on how to become a counsellor

5. Trauma counsellor

National average salary: £22,460 per year

Primary duties: Trauma counsellors help clients who have experienced traumatic events that have affected, and continue to affect, their emotional or physical health. Their service may begin by examining their clients' needs through observation and discussions followed by using therapeutic techniques for support and as treatment. They also create treatment plans for clients and refer them to a specialist when necessary.

6. Vocational counsellor

National average salary: £31,624 per year

Primary duties: Vocational counsellors help people select and decide upon a suitable career path. Their clients may include first-time job seekers, people changing careers, students and recent graduates. A vocational counsellor uses interviews, testing and questionnaires to help clients determine a career path. They work with clients to determine their strengths and limitations, allowing them to figure out which job may suit them the most.

7. Sports counsellor

National average salary: £28, 881 per year

Primary duties: A sports counsellor works with athletes to improve their physical performance, mental condition and well-being. Their duties typically include improving motivation, boosting confidence, overcoming mental barriers and solving other problems. Sports counsellors apply their expertise in various places like schools, colleges and the armed forces. They may also work as private instructors for athletes. Different types of sports counsellor might work on improving teamwork among dancers, motivating student-athletes to perform better and making the public aware of the benefits of physical fitness.

8. Youth counsellor

National average salary: £31,398 per year

Primary duties: A youth counsellor guides and offers support to teenagers and young adults who are prone to or have committed criminal activity. They address other social issues among young people like body shaming, bullying, sexuality, academic performance, trauma and social skills. They often work in schools and may also work in prisons, drug treatment programmes or inpatient mental health clinics.

9. Nutritional counsellor

National average salary: £30,856 per year

Primary duties: A nutritional counsellor helps clients create a well-balanced, nutritionally rich diet. Their duties include identifying clients' nutritional problems or recommending removing or adding certain foods to control weight or improve overall health. They may collaborate with psychological services to help a patient identify and solve their food-related problems. They also educate the public about proper diet to improve health and live a balanced lifestyle.

Related: What it takes to be a nutritional therapist (with skills)

10. Career development counsellor

National average salary: £39,163 per year

Primary duties: Career development counsellors offer career advice and support to clients. They help them understand their feelings and thoughts about their career choice and concentrate on aspects to help them achieve their objectives. Career development counselling allows people seeking employment to examine themselves and effectively make improved decisions about their career paths. Counsellors help clients identify their skills, abilities, strengths and limitations through their achievements, aptitude and performance. They also help people who want to change their profession to determine the best career for them.

Related: How to become a counsellor: duties, qualifications and jobs

11. Addiction counsellor

National average salary: £24,310 per year

Primary duties: Addiction counsellors help people who are experiencing addiction to recover and make better life choices. They work with addictions such as alcohol, drugs, gambling and sex. Their job may involve examining individuals to determine whether they're going through addiction and what type it may be. They typically work in outpatient mental health centres, prisons, substance abuse centres, juvenile detention centres and public and private hospitals.

12. Admissions counsellor

National average salary: £19,423 per year

Primary duties: An admissions counsellor works at a college or university to help students interested in enrolling there. A large part of an admissions counsellor's job includes meeting with students and helping them determine the best college for them. Their basic duties involve recruiting new students, creating recruiting procedures and taking part in admission decisions.

13. Adoption counsellor

National average salary: £30,098 per year

Primary duties: These counsellors assist children who are undergoing adoption. They communicate with birth parents, foster families and adoptive parents to identify the best possible homes for foster children. Their primary duties include uniting children with birth parents, keeping a detailed record of the children's medical and adoption history, ensuring their safety in a foster home, monitoring their health and setting meetings between them and their adoptive parents.

14. Speech therapist

National average salary: £35,666 per year

Primary duties: A speech therapist assists clients who have speech or language challenges. They can also help clients who have medical problems due to surgery, brain injuries or other accidents. Speech therapists can guide clients through exercise, develop therapeutic programmes and track their progress. Their duties can include helping a client change their accent, control vocal cords, reduce stuttering, restore the ability to speak aloud and assist them with speech disorders.

Salary figures reflect data listed on the quoted websites at the time of writing. Salaries may vary depending on the hiring organisation and a candidate's experience, academic background and location.


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